Steroidogenesis in sheep pregnancy with intrauterine growth retardation by high-altitude hypoxia: effects of maternal altitudinal status and antioxidant treatment
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Sheep pregnancy in high-altitude environments frequently involves hypoxia and oxidative stress and causes intrauterine growth retardation. The adverse effects of altitude on fetal growth can be prevented by the administration of antioxidant vitamins, but the mechanisms responsible are not well known. The maintenance of a viable pregnancy depends largely on adequate placental steroidogenesis, especially in the last two-thirds of pregnancy. Thus, in the present study we evaluated the effect of antioxidant vitamins (C and E) on plasma concentrations of progesterone and 17b-oestradiol during the last two-thirds of high-altitude pregnancies in ewes both native and naı¨ve to the high-altitude environment. In addition, pregnancy outcomes were evaluated by determining the bodyweight of newborn lambs. Sex steroid patterns differed between ewes with and without vitamin supplementation. Concentrations of plasma progesterone and 17b-oestradiol were significantly higher in the supplemented groups from approximately 40 days before parturition until near term. Newborn weights were significantly lower in animals not adapted to the higher altitude, and vitamin supplementation prevented this decrease. In conclusion, the administration of antioxidant vitamins in the present study enhanced placental steroidogenesis, thus favouring fetal development in pregnancies developing at high altitudes.
Artículo de publicación ISI
DOI: doi 10.1071/RD12020